Delhi games 'on a knife edge'
Wednesday 22 September 2010
Commonwealth Games England chairman Sir Andrew Foster admits problems with the athletes' village have left the competition "on a knife-edge" and facing "a critical 24 to 48 hours".
Scotland team officials this morning delayed the departure of their first athletes to Delhi, having yesterday described their accommodation as "unsafe and unfit for human habitation".
Their English counterparts are continuing to monitor the situation, and Foster told BBC Breakfast: "I think the next 24 to 48 hours is the critical time which will tell us whether the village - which is where the main problem is now - has got enough accommodation for everybody to come into it. I think we're at an absolutely vital time (regarding) whether the major teams go.
"Our staff have been round all 17 sports venues and they are in good order, so the key remaining feature which there's a problem with is the village. The other problems have been resolved.
"It's a situation that hangs on a knife-edge."
He admitted much work remains to be done at the village - but suggested a last-minute approach is commonplace in India and a late turnaround therefore remains feasible.
"It is not certain and we will not be sending our team unless we are confident," he said.
"There still is a serious chance, if the Indian government and the organising committee throw thousands of people at the village - which is what they quite often do in India - that this could still be salvable.
"The village still has a lot of remedial work needing to be done. But it is the case in India, when building projects are coming to a conclusion, that that is a typical way that things happen and that is quite a big cultural difference.
"The safety of the athletes has to be our primary concern. But equally, we cannot just respond to that alone, we have to evaluate the whole thing together and that is what we are doing."
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